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February 2006 Archives

February 2, 2006

Ahoy, Maties!

I first caught sight of this hat when SequinK was making it. (I'm still convinced she'll have to make one for her baby, too.) Then, I noticed Mommio has plans to make it. I ran into it at And She Knits, Too. And I think I bumped it a few other times because I clearly remember going out to download the pattern multiple times without realizing I'd already done so. Each time, I thought it was a great hat but maybe a bit too mature for the boys (right now).

But, now I'm rethinking that. I was hasty.

After seeing Rock Chick's version at Purl Jam, I don't know that I can resist making one for myself and then for the boys, too, no doubt. I can totally envision this in black and baby pink (for me, not the boys). Yep, you heard me. Black and baby pink!

February 6, 2006

Reversible, Alpaca, and Purple

scarf

I finished this reversible cabled scarf over the weekend. It's Vintage Velvet by Lisa Daniels from Scarf Style. The pattern is written for (and shown in) Touch Me (5 skeins), and I'm sure it feels amazing worked up that way. There’s no denying Touch Me is luscious to the hand. But my experience with Touch Me, and the sort of messy appearance my Touch Me scarf has (especially with the numerous tight little loops/twists hanging all over it) would make me hesitate to make something cabled out of it.

When I picked up 3 skeins of Debbie Bliss's Alpaca Silk last year at ImagiKnit, I did so with the idea of a cabled scarf in mind. The shade of purple is so soft and peaceful that it just called out to be cabled. As I contemplated patterns, the one in Scarf Style kept popping up in my head. That the Vintage Velvet scarf is reversible made it really appealing, and I'm so glad I tried it.

It's a simply beautiful pattern, and so easy to work. I started it before Christmas but, reluctantly (for I'd hoped to take it home with me to wear), put it down in the pre-Christmas rush. Feeling like a little break, I rescued it from a pile in the floor. (It really hadn't even made its way into a bag in December!) After working on long rows on my Shoalwater shawl, it was wonderful to switch gears, pick the lavender scarf up, and do 40 or so rows during a tv show. It's a 22 row repeat, but it really only involves 4 different rows (two of which have a very simple cable), so it's easy to remember and just flies along.

The yarn is amazing. It feels so good. I fell in love with it as soon as I started using it. It's simply a joy to work with, and while I tend to gush over colors, I rarely gush over fiber itself. But this stuff is amazing. (I seem to have a real love affair with Alpaca going!) The overall effect of the scarf in this yarn is elegant yet classic. I have to admit, I’m pretty sick of garter stitch scarves, so this was a welcome change, and it's a pattern I can definitely see myself making again. The only thing to note is that it could have been longer. At the end of my third skein, I went ahead and cast off, but if it ends up feeling not quite right, I might pick up another skein or two and lengthen it.

Crossed?

I've seen reference to it here and there but I don't think I actually poked in and took a look until just now. The Crossed in Translation sweater is just SO beautiful. Anyone reading this know what the yarn requirements/gauge are?

February 11, 2006

Giving In...

kid merino

February 11, 2:34 PST, Beachside

I’m sitting here in the car beachside. Truth is, I’ve been here every day for the last several weeks. The only way I’ve discovered to get the little one to sleep without nursing is to drive him around, so we’ve settled into a routine during the day. Four days a week, we drop his brother off at preschool, and the little one gets to play for a while. Then, I coax him out with promises of found treasure (dried leaves on the sidewalk) on the way to the car (alternately, I carry him out screaming because he’d much rather stay at school), and we settle into the car for the afternoon. Some days, we stop in at Starbucks for a (decaf, non-fat) vanilla latte and a scone. Lemon, pumpkin, vanilla even maple oat… he’s actually grown very fond of scones and always wants a “bite” and then “more bite” and then “more.” I hear it all the way to the beach – or until he finally succumbs to sleep, uneaten bite of scone in hand. The last week, it’s been so unbelievably warm and beautiful here that we’ve bypassed the coffee stop, heading straight to the beach, giant bottle of Propel in tow. (He loves Propel, too, so we share that on non-coffee days.)

Then he snoozes for an hour or so peacefully in the car, and I work. I’m actually really self-directed, focused, and disciplined. It made me perfect when I worked full time from home as a writer and freelance developer. I’m not one prone to “playing” when I should be working. Unfortunately, that mentality has hung around during these years where I’ve been mostly a stay-at-home mom. I still find it hard to “play” during the day. When I have free time (nanoseconds here and there), I still “work” even though the “work” isn’t necessarily paying. It makes for a bit of craziness in my head. Probably, if I could just let myself relax and knit or do something trivial during those moments of freedom, I’d be a more peaceful person, but my brain is always “on.”

Except on weekends. On weekends, I tend to leave my computer in the backpack and pull out some knitting or a book and take advantage of the hour or so at the beach.

When we first started this nap routine, and yes, I know it’s sad that we have to resort to this, but weaning is not going well at all, and this works… At any rate, when we first started, I found myself constantly frustrated with the laptop I’m using (remember, my prized and coveted LifeBook suffered a bad fall last year that I’ll never recover from). It would die in less than an hour regardless of how much life it claimed to have, and that “hour” seemed to get progressively shorter. So frustrating. I ranted. I raved. And then one day, I ranted for the millionth time that I really needed to get some kind of car charger for it. “You can get one at Best Buy or Radio Shack or somewhere,” M said, as if I’d never complained before about the sucky laptop battery. I had assumed I’d have to special order such a charger. It never occurred to me it’d be so EASY to solve my problem.

A stop at Best Buy later, and I was all set.

When I was working full time in high tech, I spent the majority of my writing energies covering the mobile market. I wrote about “nomadic” computing and developing technologies targeting people who really were working on the go. I wasn’t one of those people. Today, to some extent, I am. I have to laugh at myself. I sit here beachside, glancing up every now and again to watch the waves crashing in, see the barge on the horizon, watch the parasailers (is that what you call the ones who use a surfboard attached to a parachute-like thing?), and marvel at the constantly moving, twirling, whirling mesmerizing ribbon kites, and then I’m back to work again. I’ve got my laptop plugged into one cigarette outlet and my iPod in the other. I’m all set.

It’s wonderful. I feel like I’m “sitting” a lot, but I have to admit it’s wonderful. I mentioned our daily beach trips to a friend recently. She took one look at me, smiled, and said, “You have a beautiful office.”

It’s a perspective I love, and I’ve really latched onto it.

So, here I sit. Today, I grabbed a Tulley’s latte (not nearly as good as my normal Starbuck’s; disappointing), and I’m listening to Cast-On #10 #11. I’ve been listening to these for a few weeks. I think I missed bits and pieces of them on days when I’ve been really deep in concentration working on a new puzzle-oriented publication I’m getting ready to launch (if you have kids aged 4-10 and would like to be added to a mailing list for more information, email me), so I want to listen to them again at some point, but I’m really hooked. Brenda Dane has a wonderful podcast voice. That’s I think the real magic of what she’s doing. You can listen to her. She’s soothing. Compelling. Suave. Mellow.

Overall, the show is great, and I’m sure many of you have been listening. Here are a few thoughts… I’ve never been an NPR listener, but I have the feeling this is like NPR for knitters, and it’s simply great fun. It’s great to knit and be able to listen to someone talking “about” knitting in between the musical bits. I love, love, love, the musical intro to the “Today’s Sweater” segment. It’s just great. I love that segment, too. The pod-safe music tends to be really good/interesting. I was surprised one day to hear her on the one hand urge listeners to try out some of the many other knit/craft-related podcasts while at the same time sort of publically ridicule one of the podcasters (suggesting she sit back from the mic a bit to avoid bad “p” noise). It just seemed she could have sent that feedback privately rather than on air. The comment seemed b*tchy and felt too competitive. The essay on “Pulling a Geographic” (episode 6) is one I really want to listen to again. I know I only caught parts of it, but it really hit me hard and pulled at my heartstrings. It was so raw. So poignant. So brave to put it out there. So powerful. If you haven’t listened to it, do so. I loved the guest essay about knitters taking over the world. When it started, I was skeptical, but by the end, I was marveling at the writer’s wit and political savvy. It was great. I love the “If you’re cold, put on a sweater; that’s what they are for” tagline. But, okay, the one thing that drives me most crazy and makes me feel conflicted about Cast-On despite my compulsion to listen to it, is that Brenda isn’t a blog-reader. Shouldn’t she be?

Today, she mentioned that her Kiri shawl (already started) is her project for the Knitting Olympics. I had to laugh to myself. Mommio is knitting Kiri, too, and I had been thinking just today while I sat here in the car knitting a few rows on my second Jaywalker (working to finish them up by 2/14 for the knitalong deadline), that I should just throw it all to the wind and start Kiri (although, darnit, I hate to feel like a Mommio-shadow! Mommio knits SO much and so beautifully and often knits things I’m considering making “someday.”). I bought Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn last fall when Mom was here with Kiri in mind. I was using a gift certificate, and I saw the yarn – which is comparable to the Kid Silk Haze - and thought of Kiri. I wasn’t sure offhand how much yarn I needed though, so I only bought two skeins. Turns out the pattern uses three. I’m not sure that I won’t need more, and that’s partly why I’m tempted to start it, even though otherwise I would NOT start a new shawl until I finish my Shoalwater. But, part of me says that if I go ahead and work on it now, then if I don’t have enough, I stand a good chance of being able to pick up another skein. If I wait too long, I might have trouble finding more of this colorway. And, the colorway is perfect for the Knitting Olympics because it feels very Scottish/Irish to me (and that’s something that has real resonance to me). It’s a soft green and rose blend that calls to mind tartan plaids. It may not have that feeling at all when it’s worked up, but every time I look at it, that’s what I think about, and I know that’s why I bought it. So, while I’d been really clear that I was NOT going to participate in the Knitting Olympics, I think I’m typing myself into them here. I wasn’t going to participate – even though I was going to loudly cheer many of you on! – simply because the reality is I don’t have time to set a crazy goal for myself that I know I can’t meet. There’s just too much going on here and probably won’t be nearly as much knitting time as I’d like. So, I was going to let the Olympics go on around me and just be a spectator. I’d even decided that instead of joining and starting something new, I’d instead make it my Olympics goal to “finish” a specific project I have on the needles and that is on the top of my list to finish sooner rather than later this year.

Last night, as we watched opening ceremonies (and scratched our heads at the really odd music selection, feeling someone had bought one of those 3-CD collections of disco from a late-night infomercial, and yes, we’d been talking about it when Bob Costas made a similar comment, making us really crack up at YMCA came on – of course, it was nice that “Freedom” was playing when the USA team made their entrance), I worked diligently on my Jaywalker. I’m very close to finished, and I was feeling proud of myself for working on that while we watched, and while I helped Matthew work on yet another LEGO “pod” creation next to me on the couch. (Pods rock. We have all 13 that have come out so far, and they are great fun.) Okay, so if I go home and am able to lay my hands on the Kiri pattern (I know I can print it out, but darn it, I think I’ve printed it twice – yes, “organize” the office and the slew of things I print/clip/stash to save was on my resolutions list for the year), then I’m going to cast on tonight. So, I won’t be formally participating… a) I didn’t sign up b) I didn’t cast on last night when the torch was lit.

But, in my heart, I may be in the fray. Hope you don’t mind, Mommio!

(I’m listening to Cast-On #9 now because in #10 #11 she referenced some “issue” surrounding a comment about Stitch N Bitch in her essay in #9, and I know that I must have missed it. I recognize everything I’m hearing so far, so I’m thinking maybe I had to stop listening to that episode before it was over. At any rate, right now she’s talking about the Knitting Olympics as a form of knitting solidarity. And in #10 #11, she referenced the number of knitters on Team Wales (LOVE the dragon flag image; actually, we HAVE that Wales flag) being somewhere more than 150, I think. Cool. I’m sort of jealous of her pulling a geographic and moving to Wales!)


(*Update: Ahaha, I figured it out. I was listening to #11 today. Somehow I don’t have #10 on my iPod yet. So I missed that one. Hence my confusion over the comment I didn’t hear! Relistening to #9, however, gave me a good opportunity to again here the featured song by DaVinci’s Notebook - Enormous P**** - Can’t type it here or I’ll be even more inundated with blog spam! At any rate, I have, have, have to find a way to get the MP3 of that so I can send it to my brother!)

February 13, 2006

Bit of Olympics...

February 11, 3:13 PM Beachside – Episode 2

I was really excited about the Olympics starting (not the Knitting ones; the real ones). I can’t remember being so excited before, but this year, I really was looking forward to them, and I loved watching the opening even though, darn it, I crashed before the final minutes of the ceremonies, missing the Bocelli performance, which I was really looking forward to hearing, and, okay, I didn’t actually see the torch being lit. I tried valiantly, but finally the warm and snuggly toddler body in my arms was just too much, and I found myself dozing while I held him.

After watching the first handful of teams enter, and finding myself once again frustrated with the way NBC was handling the “map” showing each country (can you really tell where the country “is” the way they do it or is it just me?), I realized I was really interested in (and noticing) the outfits being worn by the athletes and, in particular, the hats. Here are a few countries that jumped out at me…

1) Estonia. Did you notice? Now, I don’t know much about Estonia, but I know that it comes up a lot in terms of knitting, particularly in relation to Nancy Bush, right? I’m not off target in recalling the Yarn Harlot using some braided twist on mittens and it being Estonian, right? (I’m not going to go check to find out if I’m right or not. Okay, I did check just to make sure I wasn't imagining it!) So, when I caught sight of beautiful white hats that were widely ribbed on the sides, and featured plain stockinette panels in the front with a beautiful robin’s-egg blue fair isle emblem that was a cross between a diamond and a snowflake, I found it so “fitting” that it was Estonia marching in wearing such beautiful hats. I immediately turned the page in my knitting journal to make a note of them!

2) Germany. They wore great lime, orange, and white outfits. Their hats were ribbed in orange with a lime ribbed ballcap-like brim.

3) Slovenia. Their sky blue knit hats and kiwi green scarves were set off beautifully by their very dapper cream coats.

4) Sweden. As with Germany, it was color that caught my eye. They wore yellow pants with jackets in yellow, white, and blue. Their hats were simple ribbed hats in white.

Okay, that’s it for my Olympic run-down. Those outfits really jumped out at me, especially the wonderful Estonia team hats.

Jaywalkers Finished!

finished socks

My first pair of Jaywalkers are finished. I say first pair because I can see myself making these again if only to watch how a more vibrantly colored yarn would show up in the cool zigzag striping of the Jaywalker pattern. It's a great pattern, it really is. I especially love it when I've finished the gussett decreases and then have half rows of the pattern and half plain stockinette. Those rows just seem to fly by.

So, I finished along with the Knitalong, too. I'm proud of that just because I don't do a lot of knitalongs, and I don't always finish on schedule!

February 14, 2006

A Start to Kiri

(Somehow this didn't publish when it should have. I'd stacked up a few, and it didn't go. Oops! So, I did start, Mommio!)

February 12, 2006 3:31 Beachside

Well, I went home yesterday, excited by my new plan to start a Scottish-inspired Kiri. I didn’t get “right to it” though. Today was our (now) 5-year-old’s birthday, and there was still much to be done. As bedtime (for the boys) rolled near, I made a quick attempt to find my pattern, but I didn’t turn it up in any of the stacks I checked. (You have to realize, there are stacks and stacks of papers, printouts, clippings, artwork, writing, puzzles, and more tucked into every bookcase, every crevice, every corner, and on every shelf.) So, I ended up re-printing. Luckily, as I reprinted (from my download from last year), I added in urls and uploaded my blog entry from yesterday. In doing so, I noticed that the Kiri pattern was updated in January (a problem with the edging was corrected). So, it was fortunate, I guess, that I didn’t easily find my pattern and get started. This way, I ended up getting the correct version, and that’s what I sat down with a few hours later.

I went ahead and worked on my sock for a while first, feeling proud of myself for sticking with it despite the excitement of starting something new. I didn’t finish, however. I have maybe 10 more rows of the toe decreases to do. But, I put it aside thinking that while the little one slept, I should get Kiri cast on – especially since I don’t think I’m the “best” provisional caster-onner in the world. I’m sure there’s some trick to it I’ve missed. It does work, I’ll admit, but it never works the “same” for me – it’s not repeatable. Last night, for some reason, I couldn’t get the chain “unzipped” when it was time to remove the waste yarn and knit in the other side of the chain. I had to one by one undo the stitches for some reason. Eventually, I got the requisite number of stitches, and I’m off. I did several rows of the first chart just to get started and get a feel for the yarn and the pattern. I felt like I was knitting really, really slowly. I’m not sure if that was something about working with the yarn, or if it was just the time of day. I’m looking forward to finishing up the sock tonight and getting through the first chart.

(Oh, and I should say, I'm not assuming I'll finish this before the end of the Olympics. Again, I'm not an official athlete here. Instead, I've started the project, and I'll be knitting on it while I watch. But I'm not going to feel crazy or pressured! It'll still, someday, feel sentimental [and tied to history] to have worked on it during a major international event.)

February 15, 2006

Kiri Update

kiri

I am working on Kiri, and it's coming along. I really like the way the pattern is written. She notes that she's been influenced by Evelyn Clark's FiberTrends patterns, and since I'm concurrently working on Shoalwater, I can immediately see what she means, and I like it. I like Shoalwater for the same reasons. I especially love the ease of the way the charts are written to make the repeat after the center stitch really easy to pick up and follow. I think she's done a great job visually with the charts, too. The bits of extra space between sections (rather than just darker lines marking the repeat area) gives my brain the space to easily glance down, see where I am, and get going. It may be just me, but I find this the easiest chart to follow, visually, that I've ever used.

I'm liking the Crystal Palace Kid Merino yarn, as well, and it's working up beautifully - the color changes are very fast, so I'm getting nice all-over variegation rather than anything blocky or splotchy, which is great. The colorway, admittedly, doesn't have a Spring-time feel to it, the way Mommio's great green does. But we get enough fog and gray here in the city that I'm sure I'll it'll be perfect many days, especially since our summer months are often our chilliest.

The yarn is different than Rowan Kid Silk Haze, and I sort of wish I'd sprung for KSH last fall. I remember that day though that I decided to go with the Kid Merino partly because I was drawn to the color - and I thought they were really similar yarns - and I was buying several other things. At first touch they are. But, the CP is not a Mohair/Silk blend. It's a blend of Mohair, Merino, and Nylon. I haven't seen the KSH up close since starting this to get a sense of how different that makes the yarn in appearance and feel. But, it's okay. This is going to come out nicely. I'm hoping not to need a third ball (although if I do, I hope they still have the colorway), but I'm not sure how to gauge how far to go before I start the edging to ensure I don't run out. (I saw Mommio is considering only using 2, as well, and that's good for me because she'll finish before me, and I'll use her wisdom and hindsight as a guide!).

February 18, 2006

Almost in the Trash

kiri
kiri draped over steering wheel as I knit beachside

When I was younger (it seems to me like 12-ish), I can remember sewing myself a pair of shorts - or trying to. It seems to me I was trying to derive a patchwork effect using a bright green fabric and a brightly-colored large polka-dot fabric. In my head, I can still see those fabrics. They were very bright, and they've taken on a garish cast in my head. But, this was the early 80's, so it's probably not that out of place. The shorts were simple in construction with an elastic waist, but I was a novice sewer, and I ran into trouble somewhere along the line, got frustrated, and threw them in the trash (or at least threatened to as I stomped away from the machine). I don't remember the specifics of the day, but I know my Grandmother patiently went and got them (either from the trash or the sewing table, wherever they really had ended up), and patiently fixed them for me and got me back on track. Somehow her "patience" in that moment has always stuck with me. I don't have the best memory (which is why I record and write down as much as I can of what's happening day to day - I'm old enough now to be seriously saddened by how little I "recall" when I look back of things I once thought would stick with me forever), but the gist of those shorts... the bright green and the dots... my frustration... my throwing them aside... and Grandma retrieving them and fixing them has stuck with me.

I've thrown countless projects down in frustration - and amid tears - through the years and in various creative mediums. In knitting, M and Mom make fun of me often for how many times I take things out and do them again. In knitting, generally, it doesn't bother me that much to unknit something or pull it off the needles to correct a problem spotted only several rows later. There have, of course, been projects though where repeated problems have left me close to tears.

Kiri hasn't brought me to tears, but the other day, I did come very close to just tossing it aside and saying "forget it." Since I started it, time and time again I'd think things were going along smoothly only to find, after the fact, that something had gone wrong. I've read that Rowan KSH isn't easy to unknit. Neither is the Crystal Palace Kid Merino. It's sticky. It doesn't want to be undone. Still, I've undone more rows than I care to admit of Kiri (no more than 2 rows at a time though).

After running into a few problems with count early on, I pulled out markers to mark the stitch repeat sections. I like using markers with lace, especially since I often to have to put my knitting down multiple times before completing a row ("Mama, can you get me some milk? Mama, can you get Spencer off of me? Mama,can you hand me that? Mama I need...). Markers are my friend.

But not with Kiri.

The first time after I added the markers in, I was really thrown when I got to the next right side row, and the count appeared to be off. While the pattern notes that you should use markers if you want to (and don't use them if you don't want to), it doesn't note that the position of the marker moves each right side row. So, I hadn't done anything wrong, it was the nature of the pattern. But it took me a while to realize that. I suspected the markers moved, but I kept counting the 12-stitch repeat and seeing 12 stitches, so it didn't click. I now (finally) realize that because of the way the stitches before and after the repeats (at each end, in other words) function, the repeat section is moving over with each right side row. But gee, it would have helped me a lot if that had been noted. It just wasn't obvious enough to me, I guess because two of the three shawls I've made have been marker-friendly despite beginning and end-of-row increases.

So, I did hit a point the other morning where I almost threw Kiri aside and gave up on the project, especially because even though I don’t feel like I’ll finish with the Olympics, I am feeling a bit “driven” by the project (because of the Knitting Olympics) and haven’t been switching on and off between it and another project the way I normally might. So, having had trouble at almost every sitting when I’ve been knitting (late) at night (and sleepy-eyed), I sat down the other day in the morning with my first cup of (decaf) coffee and thought to knit a few rows while the boys played. Almost instantly, I ran into trouble. Not sure what had gone wrong, I took a whole row out, and still it looked wrong. Every time I counted, I seemed to be short - on each side of the center marker.

I was really, really frustrated. I got up and did a few things around the house, debating in my head whether or not I should just scrap the project... really seriously considering it. After all, the shawl has moved from exciting to just another knit, and a particularly unforgiving one, at that. I’m not “loving” the yarn as much as I thought I might (though I think it's just a passing thing). The magic of starting a new project has waned. As the rows get longer and longer, and as some nights I feel like I’ve spent more time painstakingly unknitting this hairy sticky mess of yarn than making forward progress, the spark of enchantment has surely dulled.

But, I’m not 12 anymore. I don’t give up easily. I sat back down and pulled the pattern out of my bag again, looking in vain (I thought) at the simple chart of the final right side row of the repeat. I’d looked at it several times as I recounted before, but this time, my error jumped out at me. I’m so used to the decreases at the beginning and end of each row and before and after the middle stitch, that I wasn’t even realizing that on that final row of the repeat, you do not decrease. There’s just the yarnover and then six stitches. As I realized that’s what I’d been doing wrong (and counting wrongly) on the row, I realized/remembered/recalled (as if in a knit-induced daze of denial) that I’d had the same problem a few nights before (and made the same mistake).

This time, I think I’ve learned. I’ve got it.

Row 9 of the repeat will no longer cause troubles. I will not forget.

And so Kiri has been coming along. Despite the fact that I’m not “loving” it at the moment, every time M sees it, she comments on how beautiful the yarn is working up. She’s not a shawl person, so it’s not a hint. She just thinks it’s pretty. It’s actually light as a cloud, too. It’s almost disconcerting to see this bit of fluff that hangs from the bottom of the needles. It’s just this airy, hazey, puff of green and red yarn. It has no weight to it. It’s fuzzy. It’s mohairy. Will it really turn out to be something wearable? I’ve never had anything this light before. My Charlotted (which will always be my true love) has good weight to it. Even my Flower Basket Shawl has substance to it. But Kiri? It’s weightless.

It’s going smoothly now though. I think I somehow turned a corner with the pattern. I don’t think I’ll mess up on that row anymore, and now that I understand that the markers move, I’m just shifting them around as I get to them, and then on that final row, I take them all off and add them all in anew on the first right-side row of the next repeat. It feels a bit tedious, but as the rows get longer, especially, having the markers there gives me some peace of mind.

February 24, 2006

I'm Lovin' It

podcasts that is. Well, Cast On specifically.

(note: entry written last week, just not posted...)

I have to admit, I’m obsessed with (listening to) Brenda Dayne. After my initial reservations about the show, I’ve passed the threshold into addiction. I wish there was a show every day to listen to during my “sit” at (my in-car office at) the beach. Last week (well, tonight, too) we drove down to the Pizza Kitchen, a favorite after-swimming-lessons routine for us (with a trip to the LEGO store following pizza and then a stop at Starbucks for the drive home). Both boys were asleep in the car, so I had M listen to an episode of Cast-On for the first time. Actually, I guess it was her first podcast, which is funny. She's always been hooked on audiobooks in the car, and I've never been able to listen to an audiobook. My mind drifts. So, it's ironic that I'm the one with an iPod (okay, she bought it for me) and the one dabbling in podcast listening. Anyway, she got to listen that night. It was #12, and that one is a bit different, but I still think she enjoyed it, and it gave her a sense of what the buzz is about. (I still have to check my magazine boxes and see if I have the Interweave Fall 2001. I have to see those fingerless gloves she was talking about having made her son. They sound incredible!)

It’s her voice. That’s all there is to it. She’s got an amazing voice. Saturday, I (halfway) listened to the recent KnitCast which has sort of a roundtable with some of the major knit/fiber podcasters, and I was struck again by how wonderful Dayne’s voice is. Juxtaposed to the other podcasters in the interview, the “difference” was dramatic (I think Irshad has a good voice, too; just different than Dayne's). I tried listening to a few other podcasts this week, too, but none of them have the same voice. It’s not just her voice, of course, not "just..." I love the show itself and the way she handles it and what she says, and I love the essays. I love it when she’s talking sort of reflectively about herself, her life, her knits. I love the tidbits of her life that come creeping through the edges of the show. I love that she’s sometimes distracted by what she sees going on outside her window as she’s podcasting. So, I’m hooked.

We’re taking a quick road trip to Mendocino this weekend. (We bought a night’s stay at last year’s school auction, and it expires March 1. Somehow we didn’t realize how hard it would be to plan and make even a short trip last year.) I’m hoping to listen to the early shows with M so she can catch up. I think she’ll really enjoy them, too.

Tonight, I'm actually out downloading a bunch of other podcasts to try, too, hoping to find a few other staples to keep me always with a fresh podcast to listen to! Anyone else hooked? What do you listen to? Anything "great" you'd suggest off knitting?

Vanity Plate

Saw this vanity plate on a car in front of me the other night:

    POD CASE

Struck me as funny - on several levels.

Kiri A-Comin'

Well, I've been in here working at my computer all night tonight rather than knitting, but I figured I should post a last update on Kiri before the Olympics end. As expected, I'm not done. I guess I could have been, but a few projects have been in my way this week, and since we're hitting the road, Kiri will just have to be finished after the final medals are awarded -- which means I'm not taking it with me. I'm taking something - but not Kiri. It is going well though. I've really settled into the pattern finally. You know that moment when you're knitting lace and suddenly you "see" some connection to the rows before and the pattern starts to become clear. Well, it's not really a moment. Instead, it's a nanosecond of recognition that floats in and out of my consciousness repeatedly for a long time before it really hits me that the "click" has happened. I think it's this click that is for me part of the magic of lace knitting. No matter how I might struggle with a pattern. No matter how many times I unknit. No matter how much I rail... eventually, it clicks, and it's magic.

The "click" finally happened with Kiri recently in that I suddenly saw the relationship between the single knit between the yarnovers in each repeat and how the lined up with a single knit column in the rows before. I guess I should have noticed it earlier on, but I think I was focusing so intently on each row that I wasn't really "reading" the rows before and looking at how the rows were feeding together. At any rate, knowing the single knit lines up with the column gives me a good visual every 12 stitches of whether or not my placement and count was working out, which is nice because of the problem with using markers with Kiri. (I'm sitll using some, but sort of haphazardly now... just enough to give me some order across a row, but not marking every repeat.)

I'm through the 9th repeat now. I'm hoping to finish 10 and then determine if it will be big enough to do the edging or if I need to try and find another ball of this colorway to do the 12 listed in the pattern. I'm hoping if 10 looks good that I'll have enough to finish the edging. It feels a bit like a potshot trying to guess "where" to stop in order to have enough to finish up. But, I'm thinking 10 might work. We'll see. No new picture. It looks the same as the steering wheel shot from last weekend... just bigger.

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